Perceptions of Homophobia and Heterosexism in Physical Education

By Morrow, Ronald G.; Gill, Diane L. | Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, June 2003 | Go to article overview

Perceptions of Homophobia and Heterosexism in Physical Education


Morrow, Ronald G., Gill, Diane L., Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport


Educators have a responsibility to provide safr space, but gay and lesbian youth face particularly hostile environments. This initial study surveyed physical education teachers (n = 82) and young adults (n = 77) about their perceptions of homophobic and heterosexist behaviors within physical education and teachers' use of inclusive behaviors. Most teachers and both gay and straight students witnessed heterosexist and homophobic behavior and most lesbian and gay students had personally experienced homophobic behavior. These data indicate that homophobic and heterosexist behaviors are common in secondary schools, that teachers intend to provide a safe space, and that teachers fail to confront heterosexist or homophobic behaviors and take proactive steps to create an inclusive environment.

Key words: lesbian and gay youth

* * * * * * * * * * *

Recent dramatic incidents have brought issues related to violence in the public schools to public attention. Researchers, professionals, and public officials from varied health and service fields recognize that discrimination and harassment place students at risk, plant the seeds of hate crimes and violence, and, ultimately, detract from the health and we Ware of students and our larger society. Students face discrimination and harassment for many reasons, and media reports and empirical evidence suggest that homophobia is a particularly strong and persistent source of problems. Researchers and public campaigns are beginning to document the hostile climate for lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) youth. However, those efforts have not been extended to physical education settings. The current study is our initial attempt to obtain information on the climate for LGBT youth in public school physical education.

Many public schools have nondiscrimination policies, and many teacher training programs include diversity and multicultural issues. However, sexual identity is seldom included in policies or programs, and many people do not recognize homophobia as discrimination. The term homophobia was first used by Weinberg (1972) to signify irrationally negative attitudes toward homosexual people. There is a general uneasiness in American society with persons whose sexual identity is nonheterosexual (Herek, 1986, 1995; Jung & Smith, 1993; Rothblum & Bond, 1996). Heterosexism is demonstrated when gay men and lesbians are excluded from mainstream media (Barrett, 1997; Nardi, 1997), when we assume that lesbian and gay men do not marry or have children (Hulsebosch & Koerner, 1997; Vennard, 1997), when homosexuality is discussed only in connection with H1V/AIDS (Sears, 1992), and when lesbians who face harassment find heterosexual-only support services in the schools (Sattel, Keyes, Tupper, & Marinoble, 1997). Heterosexism, as defined by Sears and Williams (1997), "is a belief in the superiority of heterosexuals or heterosexuality evidenced by the exclusion, by omission or design, of nonheterosexual persons in policies, procedures, events, or activities" (p. 16).

Lesbian and gay youth face particularly hostile environments, as documented by the emerging research and recent national public reports. D'Augelli and Patterson (1997) reported that gay and lesbian youth suffer victimization and discrimination, leading to high rates of substance abuse, drop out, family discord, and generally greater risk for mental and emotional problems. Lock and Kleis (1998) stated that problems including cases of assault, suicide, substance abuse, and homelessness among homosexual teenagers can be traced directly from homophobic attitudes. Clearly, such hostile environments do not disappear as youth become adults, and many experiences and perceptions have long-term implications.

Public health and educational research has documented that gay and lesbian students face increased risk of violent victimization, harassment, and discrimination, impeding their ability to do well in school. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Perceptions of Homophobia and Heterosexism in Physical Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.